Skip to main content
Unit of study_

MUSC2675: History of the Musical

This course will survey the history and development of the musical (the combination of song, dialogue, dance and acting onstage) from its antecedents including operetta, singspiel, musical comedy, cabaret and revue to the present day, including Broadway/West End/international, book musicals, epic, through-composed, jukebox and rock influenced, political, didactic, biographical, dance, film and tv. Students will analyze the specific mechanics of the musical (i.e., music, lyrics, book, design, etc.) and the major historical movements from the nineteenth to twenty-first century as contextualized in particular musicals. Students will become familiar with key historical repertoire from 1850 to the present. Students will consider how the musical has interacted with, reflected and influenced social and political culture across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Code MUSC2675
Academic unit Arts Music
Credit points 6

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand the historical and cultural roots of the genre of music theatre, including text, lyric, book, narrative, syntax, music, rhythm, melody, harmony, tonality, style, instrumentation.
  • LO2. Understand and analyse the porous boundaries between music theatre and other types of music performance, including opera, operetta, art song, performance art, drama with music, musical comedy.
  • LO3. Apply historical and cultural knowledge of music theatre to analysing style, genre, text, music, lyric, book to create a stylistically informed performance, and to be able to reflect effectively on music theatre performance in a range of contexts.
  • LO4. Differentiate, describe and critique embodiment in music theatre, including visual, aural and kinaesthetic elements, from the pragmatic to the philosophical.
  • LO5. Recognise, demonstrate and discuss a range of music theatre styles, periods, forms, genres with reference to characterisation, set, props, music, text and movement.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.